KeyWe Preview

KeyWe is the latest in a wave of charming co-op puzzle adventures.  In the same vein as Overcooked, or Moving Out, two players must team up to complete the objectives in each level. Unlike those titles, in our brief time with it we found it to be much less likely to cause arguments or aggravation, yet it was just as fun to play. The full game is slated to release at the end of August, but if Stonewheat & Sons can keep up the inventiveness on show here then we’re in for another fantastic release.

We play as a pair of ultra-cute Kiwi’s, and are tasked with various word-based objectives to complete as a team. In the handful of levels in this preview, we saw things such as finding snippets of words to complete a message, delivering the correct post to the correct areas of a post office, and packing up crates with specific post codes and labels, among others. No matter the task, it’s imperative to work as a team; not just to get things done quickly, but some actions require us to press a button at the same time.

Take the first level as an example; we’re given a word at a time, and must use a type-writer style keyboard to write it out. The keys are spread out wide and far, so each player must take a section and keep on top of when it’s their turn to hit a letter. Capitalisation is handled as a team with one player holding the shift button while the other hits the letter, and sending the completed sentence has both players hitting send at the same time. Initially it seems a little overwhelming, but once our first word was in the bank we were working like a well-oiled machine.

Later levels expand on this concept, with the aforementioned crate packing especially interesting. We’re given a location to send it to which is detailed on a map on the table – the post code found on it is what we need to type out. We’re also given a description that hints at the packing label we’ll need to stick on too, but it can take a little working out, such as fragile, perishable, or heavy goods. Then we work together to lift the crate lid onto the box, before finally determining if it’s to be sent North or South. This was the only one to give us pause as it wasn’t immediately obvious what we needed to do (and a bug meant that the tutorials arrow stuck around, causing some confusion). Again though, once we got into the swing of things it’s actually a very clever concept, and we’ve no doubt it’ll get much more challenging in later areas.

Controlling the Kiwi’s is simple enough, either using controllers or – seeing as this was a PC demo – sharing a keyboard locally (online play is also available). There’s a looseness to the platforming that means we’re not too punished for sloppy jumping, but it’s also still easy enough to misjudge placement when under pressure. I played the demo with my wife who is far from a regular gamer, yet she picked it up very easily and was having a great time. Tickets are earnt by clearing levels in set times, with these used to unlock customisations for the Kiwi’s that make them even more adorable, such as ski goggles, or a penguin colour scheme and extra fuzzy fur.

KeyWe can be played solo but the true charm is definitely the co-op experience. Even across these half dozen levels the charm and ingenuity of the puzzles has won us over. It takes what makes Overcooked a great time – playing locally with friends and loved ones, working together to complete objectives – and removes almost all of the relationship testing rage that could occur playing that title, replacing it with cute animals and a chill, yet still challenging, pace. We’re very keen to see how the final title compares come Aug 31st.

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This game was previewed on PC (via Steam). All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.
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Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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